Lost on Dress Parade (Henry)

From Summarium
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Lost on Dress Parade
Summary of a short story
Microsummary: A young architect treated himself to a luxurious evening out every ten weeks. One evening, he met a modestly dressed woman, and they dined together. He pretended to be wealthy, hiding his true, hardworking nature.

Towers Chandler, a young architect earning $18 per week, had a habit of setting aside $1 from each week's earnings. Every ten weeks, he would use the accumulated $10 to treat himself to a luxurious evening out, dressing impeccably and dining at a fancy restaurant. On one such evening, as he was walking along Broadway, he encountered a young woman who had slipped on ice and injured her ankle. Chandler helped her up and, after a brief conversation, impulsively invited her to join him for dinner.

The young woman, who introduced herself as Miss Marian, was hesitant at first, but eventually agreed to accompany Chandler. She was dressed modestly, in a plain black dress and a simple hat, but carried herself with grace and poise. As they dined together, Chandler found himself enjoying her company immensely. However, he felt compelled to impress her by boasting about his supposed wealth, social connections, and leisurely lifestyle. Miss Marian listened politely, but expressed her belief that such a life seemed empty and unfulfilling.

After their dinner, the two parted ways, with Chandler reflecting on the evening and wondering if he should have been more honest with Miss Marian. Meanwhile, Miss Marian returned to her own home, a luxurious mansion, where her sister scolded her for disappearing in a plain dress and causing their mother to worry. Miss Marian explained that she had only intended to run a quick errand and had injured her ankle, leading to her extended absence.

As the sisters sat together, Miss Marian mused about the kind of man she could love: someone with dark blue eyes, kind and respectful, but also ambitious and hardworking. She admitted that she could not love a man who lived a life of idleness and luxury, even if he had all the other qualities she admired. Unbeknownst to her, Chandler possessed the very qualities she desired, but his decision to present himself as a wealthy idler had obscured his true nature.